I logged onto Facebook tonight and it seemed everyone in my feed was talking about their “long ride” today. Not the best fuel for a rejected USAT blogger who is laying around in boxers after his 1:20 minute cycling meltdown.
My Ironman countdown meter shows 28 days. I have plantar fasciitis in my right heel, a tender Achilles on my left, and I am battling a summer cold. What’s Vegas showing as my over/under in Louisville?
If I were a betting man, I’d be tempted to lay some huge scratch on the “over,” but, since I am not, I am cautiously optimistic about my chances. But it has nothing to do with my mileage.
Ironman is a long damn ways and the furthest combination of any distances I’ve strung together in this training period is 77 miles on a bike. In fact, I’ve rarely gone past 50.
My longest run has been 12 miles an it was relatively painful.
The upside to all of the injuries is that I have put in a little extra time in the water, but even those swims would be considered short by Ironman standards.
So, how will I pull this together? Let’s add it up with 10 positives.
1. I feel relatively good about the swim.
2. I’m pretty sure I’ll be decent on the bike for at least 3 hours.
3. My entire marathon at IM Wisconsin hurt, so I have experience battling the pain.
4. I’ll have a lot of family and friends there to race for.
5. Even though I am sick and have problems with both feet, I am pretty healthy.
6. I love the energy at Louisville and usually perform better under pressure.
7. By traditional standards, I will be undertrained, but should be well rested.
8. All of these distractions have forced me to look inside and figure out solutions.
9. Getting sick has put me on serious road to dialing in my diet.
10. I will not go down without a fight.
If I know one thing about Ironman, it’s at least half mental. I’ve been through the meat grinder and know how it feels.
I know the nervous energy of race morning. I know the feel of an elbow to the face in the water. The frustration of seeing the swim exit that seems to only get further away.
I know the pain in neck on a long windy roads. The burn in your thighs as you climb a hill that never ends. The unrelenting swell in your ass that eventually fades to numb.
I know the delirium of hobbling off your bike to do something that seems impossible. The illusion of running forever before you see mile one. The cruel Ironman joke of baiting you down the Finisher’s chute on your first lap. I know the dark, lonely existence at Mile 18 when you forget who you are.
And I also know the taste of the finish line. The unmistakeable energy that seems to be all for you. I know the screaming strangers and the familiar faces that welcome you home from a journey you can’t put in words. There are not many things sweeter.